In an ever-changing industry, real estate moves as quickly as cars zipping around a race track. As agents and brokers we know this race all too well.

Along the chain of the deal, the pace isn’t always as quick. Mortgage lenders, for example, don’t set the same pace as they don’t always feel the same urgency.
One lender is changing that.

At Quicken Loans, emails and phone calls are answered quickly, typically within minutes. And it’s not just borrowers who are viewed as clients; real estate agents also play an integral part in the online lender’s mortgage process.

Today, Quicken Loans has grown to become the largest online mortgage lender and the second-largest retail mortgage lender in the United States, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

In 2018, Quicken Loans executives are working with real estate agents, their most powerful ally, says Tom Dempsey, divisional vice president of Business Development with Quicken Loans.

“Real estate agents aren’t usually included in the [mortgage] experience, but they’re our clients, too,” Dempsey said, adding that homebuyers (especially first-time buyers) turn to agents to be their trusted guide in a sometimes complex process. “We knew we needed to communicate with the agent at the same high level that we communicate with the client throughout the process.”

Quicken Loans has debuted MyQL Agent Insight, a custom back-end platform that increases loan visibility by letting agents see exactly where their client stands in the loan approval process.

From a smartphone or desktop, agents can see what documents might be missing, when an appraisal comes in, and when a loan is cleared to close or even denied.

Quicken Loans’ mortgage clients must give consent for their agents to see updates on their loan file and, if they do, personal or financial information is never revealed to agents, Dempsey adds.

The accessibility and transparency MyQL Agent Insight brings to the process reduces a lot of the uncertainty agents experience in most transactions, Dempsey points out.

“It always comes back to connectedness in our industry,” Dempsey points out. “The ability for a lender and a real estate agent to deepen relationships and create a higher level of trust, in turn, helps all of us to better educate and serve consumers.

Quicken Loans also provides agents and brokers with additional services, including Q-text, which allows agents to receive text updates on the status of their clients’ loans, keeping agents up-to-date on each step in the process while they’re on-the-go.

The lender also has an agent relations team to focus solely on providing end-to-end communications support to agents. Real estate professionals can get answers to any and all questions they have about loan options, business partnerships, transaction processes, and more.

Quicken Loans also offers market managers that allow the lender to be visible in agents’ communities.

Quicken Loans has evolved in its 33-year history as a direct lender. Today, the company services virtually all of the loans it originates.

To increase its focus on consumers, Quicken Loans launched Rocket Mortgage, the first fully online, on-demand loan application process. It allows borrowers to get fully approved, underwritten and closed—all without ever speaking to a mortgage banker, unless they want to, Wegner says.

In its first full year of operation, Rocket Mortgage funded more than $7 billion of the record $96 billion in total closed loan volume in 2016 for Quicken Loans.

With 2018 underway, Quicken Loans isn’t resting on its laurels.

For example, the company is looking at several ways to incorporate services, such as online document signing and transaction-management systems into its mortgage experience.

Another area of focus for Quicken Loans this year? Allowing agents to upload addendums to purchase contracts into the MyQL Agent Insight self-service portal. This functionality will streamline paperwork when changes need to be made to a contract after an inspection or appraisal.

For Deborah Robinson, a real estate professional with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Generations in Mobile, Ala., communication is the name of the game when it comes to successfully helping clients through the home loan process.

“I had a buyer who was pre-approved with Quicken Loans come to me, and I needed to make a choice between moving forward with him as a Quicken Loans client or losing him,” says Robinson. “I chose to continue working with him, and it turned into the best thing to happen to me.”